In one of his likely last moves before leaving office, the Obama administration’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a new federal regulation prohibiting states from defunding abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.
The press release issued by HHS said that the purpose of the final rule was to protect access to family planning services:
In the past several years, a number of states have taken actions to restrict participation by certain types of providers as subrecipients in the Title X Program, unrelated to the provider’s ability to provide family planning services. This has caused limitations in the geographic distribution of services and decreased access to services.
The final rule clarifies the Title X program regulations by adding that no grant recipient making subawards for the provision of services as part of its Title X project may prohibit an entity from participating for reasons other than its ability to provide Title X services.
In essence, this means that HHS is attempting to block states from restricting fund to abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. The Federalist notes:
Federal law stipulates that tax dollars cannot fund abortions, yet a growing number of states and lawmakers are concerned that federal funds going to contraception clinics that also provide abortions is enabling the provision of abortion. Funds are fungible, which means that once an entity gets its hands on taxpayer dollars, the government no longer has control over how exactly that money is spent.
The new HHS rule is Obama’s way of once again ignoring Planned Parenthood’s criminal activity. “With this rule, we see an administration that has become unglued at the knowledge of the impending pro-life sea change in Washington, D.C.,” said Congressman Diane Black. “President Obama knows that hope is rising for the innocent victims of Planned Parenthood’s brutality and the big abortion industry’s days of taxpayer-funded windfalls are numbered. We should not be surprised that his administration would lash out with this eleventh hour power grab on the way out the door, but I am certain this rule will not stand for long.”
Just two days ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee referred Planned Parenthood Federation of America, four Planned Parenthood affiliates, and a number of fetal tissue procurement organizations to the FBI and the Department of Justice for criminal referrals regarding their fetal tissue practices and transfers.
Live Action News’ Rebecca Downs explains that if Planned Parenthood were stripped of federal funding, it would not leave women without health care options. She writes:
Instead, what would happen if Planned Parenthood is defunded is that the money currently going to 665 Planned Parenthood locations (fewer now, since closures) would instead go to Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). With their 13,540 centers, they outnumber Planned Parenthood 20 to 1. Women have far more options besides Planned Parenthood.
The new HHS measure will take effect two days before the January 20, 2017, inauguration of Donald Trump.